Monday, May 11, 2015

Children in the Surf, Coney Island (1904)

One of the numerous actualitie subjects taken by G.W. "Billy" Bitzer for the Biograph company during the early years of the 20th century, demonstrating Bitzer's eye for spatiality and depth in his compositions, with the children splashing about in the foreground and the rolling waves crashing toward them.

There is a remarkable moment that occurs toward the end of this subject, after the other children have exited the frame. One small boy appears with a toy boat that gets tossed about in the surf, while in the background a tall ship passes by. It's really quite a striking composition, with the contrast between the small toy ship and the actual, full-sized one in the distance. The sudden appearance of this marvelous shot at the end of the film suggests that it was a spontaneous addition to an otherwise routine subject depicting children at play.

The film is available for viewing at the Internet Archive.

No comments: